|Born||December 31, 1970|
San Bernardino, California
|Listed height||6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)|
|Listed weight||225 lb (102 kg)|
|High school||San Bernardino|
(San Bernardino, California)
|College||Long Beach State (1990-1993)|
|NBA draft||1993 / Round: 2 / Pick: 45th overall|
|Selected by the Utah Jazz|
|Number||34, 3, 2, 9|
|2003-2004||Los Angeles Lakers|
|2007-2008||Long Beach Breakers|
|2009-2010||Los Angeles Lightning|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NBA statistics|
|Points||6,663 (7.9 ppg)|
|Rebounds||2,914 (3.5 rpg)|
|Assists||1,085 (1.3 apg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Bryon Demetrise Russell (born December 31, 1970) is an American former professional basketball player. During a National Basketball Association (NBA) career that spanned from 1993 to 2006, he played for the Denver Nuggets, Washington Wizards and Los Angeles Lakers and was a key member of the Utah Jazz, helping them reach back-to-back NBA finals appearances in 1997 and 1998. Russell also played for the Hollywood Fame and Long Beach Breakers of the American Basketball Association (ABA). He finished his career with the Los Angeles Lightning of the International Basketball League (IBA), winning a championship in 2009.
After playing three years of college basketball with Long Beach State University, Russell was drafted forty-fifth overall in the 1993 NBA draft by the Utah Jazz. From 1997 to 2000, he played in every regular-season game. He went to back-to-back NBA Finals with the Jazz in 1997 and 1998, but lost to the Chicago Bulls. Russell had his best season with the Jazz in the 1999-2000 season, when he averaged 14.1 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. After playing nine seasons for the Jazz, Russell signed with the Washington Wizards as a free agent for the 2002-2003 season. Russell then signed with the Los Angeles Lakers as a free agent for the 2003-2004 season and made it to the 2004 NBA Finals but lost to the Detroit Pistons. He then signed with the Denver Nuggets as a free agent and played with them from 2004 to 2006. He was a part of the Seattle SuperSonics roster for a brief time in 2006 after being traded by the Nuggets but never appeared in a game for them.
Russell is best remembered for guarding Michael Jordan at the end of Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals. Jordan made the game-winning shot over Russell, although many fans believe Jordan pushed off Russell during the play. The referees did not call a foul on the play, and Russell later remarked, "Whether he pushed off or not, he was making that shot." He and Jordan were teammates when they played for the Washington Wizards during the 2002-03 NBA season, which was Jordan's last.
In 2009, Jordan mentioned Russell in his Hall of Fame induction speech, recalling an interaction they had during Jordan's first retirement in 1994: "[A]t this time, I had no thoughts of coming back and playing the game of basketball. Bryon Russell came over to me and said, 'Why did you quit? You know I could guard you.' ... From this day forward, if I ever see [Russell] in shorts, I'm coming at him." In response, Russell challenged Jordan to a game of one-on-one for charity. Such a match-up has not yet taken place, though the Utah Flash of the NBDL did stage a halftime game between Russell and a Jordan look-alike.